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Protecting elderly and offering relief for stretched health and social care sector
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Paula Beaney, Quality Assurance Director at live-in care provider, Promedica24, has issued the following statement:
Over-70s constitute more than 30% of the whole UK population. As people get older, they are at increased risk of underlying medical conditions which weaken the immune system, making older people a primary risk group for viral infections spread during social interaction. Those that require around the clock assistance, for instance, due to mobility issues or dementia, will find themselves and their family members in particularly vulnerable circumstances trying to secure their care needs and limit exposure to others at the same time.
The recent analysis published by Age UK show that there are around 1.2 million people aged 65+ that don’t receive the help they need with essential daily living activities. This is backed up by Live-in Care Hub’s ‘Better at Home 2017’ report stating that 97% of people don’t want to go into a residential care home but often they are not aware of any alternative options.
With the first positive COVID-19 cases confirmed in care homes in the UK, residential settings across the UK are now looking to close their doors to guests and visitors to keep protecting elderly residents.
The residential care system is at breaking point, and professionals and families are struggling to secure hourly home care, with a knock-on effect of falls, extended hospital stays and ambulance call outs putting additional pressure on the health system.
With an already stretched NHS, the coronavirus outbreak will see hospitals struggling alongside normal winter pressures. Delayed transfer of care is at its highest since 2017 with older patients ‘bed blocking’ due to an unmet community care need.
Residential care is not, and should not, be the default care choice. A live-in care service provides a care worker to live with individuals in their own homes, assisting with everyday tasks such as cooking and cleaning, as well as providing personal care and support. It enables those who have support needs to remain in their own home whilst receiving quality around the clock care.
Live-in care needs to be seen as a genuine and affordable option for families seeking support and there are benefits for both the people and the system. When the perception of ageing is shifted to ‘ageing well’, the system is giving people power, choice and control, fundamentally transforming lives.
As with all health and social care providers, we are taking extreme measures to work alongside the Government and mitigate the risk to our clients, staff and the community. Although the pandemic itself could be upsetting for people who are vulnerable, and those who enjoy regular outings into the community may have to limit these, care workers and clients share positive relationships which will ultimately reduce distress and depression.
Age UK estimate around two million people aged over 75 live alone and around one million of these individuals go for one month without speaking to a friend, neighbour or relative.
With the recent recommendations from the Government suggesting that those aged over 70 will be advised to self-isolate for extended period of time, there is a definite risk that even more vulnerable people will experience loneliness. Sadly, research has linked social isolation with many health risks including depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Statistics suggest that live-in care can help to relieve pressures on the NHS and for adult social care by providing safe and supportive home care environments for the elderly, reducing the need for prolonged hospitals stays or admittance.
It’s at times like these, that health concerns are escalated, and people seek options to protect their family members. Live-in care is a good solution and helps to alleviate the stress on an already overstretched and under resourced health and social care system.
The best thing though is that people can stay at home, be well cared for and feel safe, which is ultimately what we would all want.
Promedica24’s live in care service aims to provide quality care in people’s own homes, enabling them to live as independently as possible, while regaining choice and control of how they spend their daily life.
For more information about live-in care services, contact 0800 086 8686 or visit https://www.promedica24.co.uk/